If you’ve messed up, the relationship is worth saving and your partner is open to allowing for positive change, you’re off to a good start. But you have some work to do.
To begin with, you and your partner should hone your communication skills to allow for the kind of dialogue that will be necessary to facilitate repair and change. Your job is to fully own your part in what’s happened. Your partner needs to feel validated in their feelings and that you are remorseful for your role in this. Apologizing can be tough for some people as it’s a very vulnerable place to be! But it’s important for you to go there in order to set the stage for your opportunity to be different moving forward.
Do some personal reflection on why you’ve behaved in a damaging way. For the most part, people are not inherently mean but more likely driven by defense mechanisms and old wounds from the past. Seek to understand yourself and what your history has to do with how you function in relationships. If there is something there that needs resolution, do the work. It can pay off big time in the long run.
Creating long term positive change can be hard work and the likelihood of falling off track again is high. As long as you own it and repair it when it happens, you can chalk it up to being human but you must continue to try to do things differently. Sometimes old conditioning and habits are tricky to change but give yourself a break. Hopefully your partner will give you a break too and allow the opportunity to continue ahead.
Sometimes making change requires a helping hand. I help couples interested in repairing hurts move ahead, alter their dynamics and find emotional safety together.